This season’s Triple Crown races could be much different from what we have seen in the past. Usually, the 20 horses that run in the Kentucky Derby (G1) dominate the entire Triple Crown season, but that may not be the case this year. The list of horses lining up to run in both the Preakness Stakes (G1) and the Belmont Stakes (G1) becomes more enticing with each passing day. Here are five horses to watch that we could see in the winner’s circle in one of the remaining jewel races:
1. Intrepid Heart
We won’t have to wait long to see him run. He’ll likely be a heavy favorite this weekend in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3), which should lead to a start in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Trainer Todd Pletcher has been patient with him, laying out a clear plan from the start with the Belmont being the main objective. His first two races have been impressive, winning a maiden special weight at Oaklawn Park before making a determined stretch run to defeat a tough allowance field at Keeneland. This weekend gives him the chance to become a stakes winner.
2. Bourbon War
Is it just me, or have we forgotten about this horse a little bit? Not long ago, he was very high on Kentucky Derby (G1) lists, and he really didn’t do much wrong to not qualify for the race. He finished fourth in the Florida Derby (G1), though he didn’t get any pace to run into in that spot. Also, the first- and third-place finishers of the Florida Derby were also the first and third horses to cross the wire in Kentucky. With those two horses out of the Preakness Stakes (G1), it makes logical sense that Bourbon War enters it with a monster chance of winning. He also has the pedigree to play a factor in the Belmont Stakes (G1) as well.
Can this Maryland-bred take home the Preakness Stakes (G1)? It would be an amazing story if he could pull it off, and there really is no reason why he can’t get the job done. He already has the speed figures that will make him competitive against the field; it’s just be a question of his class. The Stay Thirsty colt has won six straight, though never against graded stakes company. The prospective Preakness field, while coming up a bit light, will still be much better than anything that he has ever faced.
Trainer Brad Cox made quite an impact on the 3-year-old filly division last year with Monomoy Girl and will try his hand in this year’s 3-year-old male division with Owendale, who dominated his rivals in the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland last time out. It looked like the light bulb came on in that last effort after he was well-beaten in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds. If he can rekindle that magic again, then he’ll have a big shot to get the job done at Pimlico.
There was a time when many thought that Anothertwistafate could be a prime Kentucky Derby (G1) contender; however, runner-up efforts in his last two starts found him on the outside looking in when the big day arrived. He still showed solid efforts in both of those second-place finishes, which is enough to think that he has a shot in the Preakness Stakes (G1). His early speed seems to be his deadliest weapon and will need to be put on display. The Pimlico track can sometimes favor speed, which will give him a fighting chance.
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